THE 4TH QUARTER

We Champions Baby! Where Our Trophy At?

NBA Preview: Top Centers (2009-10)

Posted by Jo$h on October 27, 2009

dhoward

1. Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic) – No brainer. Dwight Howard is in the position to be the league’s most dominant low post presence for possibly the next decade. However, his recent finals performance against the Lakers exposed what was his most glaring weakness which was the lack of an arsenal of low post moves. His sheer physique and ability to dominate the glass put him at the top of this list. Another thing to remember is that he’s only 23 years old and nowhere close to maximizing his potential. The future looks scary for opposing centers.

Wizards Cavaliers Basketball

2. Shaquille O’Neal (Cleveland Cavaliers) – Shaq may be aging, but he played in 75 games last season with the Phoenix Suns and had several games that made him look like MVP Shaq from his younger days. Although it won’t be every night, Shaq is still capable of dominating games from time to time as he showed last year. Shaq will have a successful season due to the fact that he’s joining a team that (up until the Eastern Conference Finals) looked like possibly the best in the league. Shaq won’t be expected to score big points, but rather by a defensive presence and take some of the pressure off of Lebron. As long as his minutes don’t get ridiculously high, Shaq should have no problem filling that role.

aljeff

3. Al Jefferson (Minnesota Timberwolves) – Until recently, Al Jefferson’s claim to fame was that he was the main piece that the Boston Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett. Since arriving in Minnesota, Jefferson has been making quite a name for himself, averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds in 2008 and 31 points and 11rebounds in 2009 before going down for the season after 50 games. With gaps that need to be filled, Al Jefferson has an excellent chance of making the All Star team this season and along with Andrew Bynum, esatablishing himself as the dominant center in the Western Conference.

bynum

4. Andrew Bynum (Los Angeles Lakers) – For the last two seasons, Andrew Bynum has been ready to break out before falling to an injury. This season, (and possibly the rest of his career) Bynum will be wearing braces on both knees that he suffered injuries in for protection. If he can maintain his health, look for him to establish himself as one of the league’s top centers and justify the large contract extension he received from the Lakers prior to last season. Bynum says that a personal goal for him this season is to make the All Star team, and with Shaq and Yao out of the way, the position is wide open and waiting to be filled.

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5. Chris Kaman (Los Angeles Clippers) – I know a lot of people will think that Greg Oden should be in this slot, but he has a lot more to prove before he can claim it. Although their both often injured, Andrew Bynum has shown a lot more while on the court than Oden. Chris Kaman is coming off of a season where he played only 31 games but is expected to be fully healthy for the 2009-10 season. Before last season he averaged 15 points 13 rebounds and 3 blocks, Also, before last year, his scoring numbers had risen every year since he joined the league. With the addition of rookie Blake Griffin as well as Baron Davis and Eric Gordon being threats at the top of the key, that’ll leave many opportunities for Kaman to do damage down low.

Honorable Mentions: Greg Oden (Portland Trailblazers), Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets), Andrea Bargnani (Toronto Raptors), Marcus Camby (Los Angeles Clippers), Kendrick Perkins (Boston Celtics), Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks)

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